Kibud Av Vaeim-May a parent serve his child, and may a child request from his parent to do a chore on his behalf

May a parent serve a child:[1]

If a father desires to serve his son, it is permitted for the son to accept the service.[2] [Thus, if a father or mother desires to serve a meal to their son, they may do so, and the son does not have to protest this. It is due to this that the world is accustomed to permit one’s parents to bring them food and clothing as the parents forgive their honor in this matter and desire to provide their children.[3] However, every child is to be sensitive and conscious to this matter so that the parent does not do more than they really wish to do and are doing so out of force or lack of choice.[4] Thus, it is proper for a child to offer to take over his parent in the chores that they do on one’s behalf, in order to properly mediate this matter.]

If the father is a Ben Torah:[5] If the father is a Ben Torah, then he may not serve his son [and the son is to refuse the service even if his father presses him to accept it[6]].[7] [This applies even if the father is not a Torah scholar but merely a Ben Torah.[8] Accordingly, in most religious homes today that the father is a Ben Torah, the children should refuse to accept the service of their father, and hence rather than ask their father to prepare them a drink they are to do so themselves. However, some Poskim[9] imply that this only applies if the father is the teacher of the son in Torah. Furthermore, some Poskim[10] rule that if the father desires very much to serve his son then he may be allowed to do so. However, other Poskim[11] rule that even in such a case the child is to refuse to accept the service from his father and is to insist on doing it himself. Practically, one may be lenient like the first opinion regarding those matters that do not take too much effort and trouble on the part of the father to perform, and it is the way of the world for a father to do on behalf of his children.[12]]


May a child ask from his parent to serve him, such as to serve bring him a cup of water and the like?[13]

The above allowance for a child to accept a service from his parent is specifically if the parent chooses to do so on his own initiative. It however remains forbidden for the child to request from his parent to serve him or do an errand on his behalf, as doing so is considered an act of Chutzpa.[14] This is with exception to those cases in which the son assesses that the parent would be more than happy for the request to have been made, in which case the son may make the request of his parent.[15] Even in those cases that it is permitted for one to make the request from his parent, it should only be said in a most honorable manner, and in private not in front of others so people do not get the impression that one is make his father his servant. Even in those cases of prohibition, it is permitted for the child to hint the matter to his parent, or ask his parent in a way that does not sound like a command or instruction but rather simply as an inquiry if the parent is open for the request.[16] This, however, should be limited only to those matters which is common for a parent to perform on behalf of his child.


[1] Michaber 240:25; Tosafus Riy Hazakein Kiddushin 31b; Meiri 31a; Piskei Riaz Kiddushin 1:8-15; Rabbeinu Yerucham Nesivei Adam 4, brought in Beis Yosef 240; Sefer Hayirah 198; Yerushalmi Kiddushin 1:7, brought in Tosafus Kiddushin 31b, regarding the mother of Rebbe Yiishmael who desired to wash the feet of her son upon his return from the hall of study and then drink the water, he refused to let her do so and was then instructed by the sages to allow her to do so as her wishes are her honor; Pesakim Uteshuvos 240:63

[2] The reason: As a father who forgives his honor, his honor is forgiven, and since he wants to serve his son and this is his wish, then this itself is his honor. [Poskim ibid]

[3] Meiah Shearim 39

[4] Meiri ibid; Meiah Shearim ibid

[5] Michaber ibid; Kiddushin 31b regarding story of Rebbe Yaakov Bar Avuhu whose parents wanted to serve him and he was told by Abayey that while he may allow his mother to do so he may not allow his father to do so being that his father is a Ben Torah; Chayeh Adam 66:26

[6] Peri Chadash 240:28; Birkeiy Yosef 240:25

[7] The reason: As this can cause the father to feel feelings of rejection and lack of self-worth. [Poskim ibid]

[8] See Ran ibid

[9] Maharsha Kiddushin ibid

[10] Ran and Nimukei Yosef on Kiddushin ibid based on Yerushalmi ibid

[11] Peri Chadash Likkutim 240, brought in Birkeiy Yosef 240:25; Orchos Rabbeinu 3:109; Maaseh Ish 6:150

[12] Torah Lishma 275; Shraga Hameir 4:26; Chut Shani 240; Pesakim Uteshuvos ibid

[13] Pesakim Uteshuvos ibid

[14] Torah Lishma 268; Kiddushin 45b; Chut Shani 240:27; See Shut Rebbe Eliyahu Mizrachi 19; Pesakim Uteshuvos ibid footnote 537

[15] Sefer Chassidim 562

[16] See Maharsham 3:352-11; Morah Horim Ukevodam 3:33 in name of Rav Bentzion Aba haul; Sefer Ben Chocham 104 in name of Rav Elyashiv

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?

You must be logged in to post a comment.